Recent Bust Serves as a Reminder of the Dangers of Methamphetamine Use and Manufacture

First responders who answer calls involving Panama City emergencies must be prepared for unexpected turns on a daily basis. The News Herald is covering an ongoing story in which a routine medical call turned into a methamphetamine bust. The Panama City injury attorney at The Pittman Firm hopes the story can serve as a reminder that drugs are an ongoing problem that can lead to Panama City accidents that can impact all of our region's residents and visitors.

On Friday morning at approximately 7:30, Bay County Sheriff's Office responded to an emergency call reporting that a man had stopped breathing at a home located at 3604 Orlando Road in Panama City. Emergency responders revived the man and transported him to the hospital's intensive care unit for further care. During the emergency call, officials noticed signs of ongoing, illegal narcotics activity at the residence. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators searched the location and found methamphetamine, drug-related paraphernalia, and an active "shake and bake" style meth lab.

Following the search, police arrested the following individuals: Joshua Bagley, a 25-year-old from Fountain, for manufacture and trafficking of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia, and tampering with evidence; Carolyn Warren, a 22-year-old from Panama City, for possession of meth and drug paraphernalia; Tyler Elmore, age 19 of Panama City, for possession of meth and drug paraphernalia; and Kevin Kitrell, a 27-year-old from Panama City, on an active grand theft warrant.

Methamphetamine is a serious drug that impacts the user's central nervous system. Although meth does have limited medical uses, it is more often manufactured for recreational use. Meth can be taken orally, by snorting, via injection, or by smoking. Even small amounts of the drug can have stimulant effects, including rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and increased respiration. High doses can result in convulsions, stroke, heart attack, and even death. Psychological effects of meth use include euphoria, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, feelings of invincibility/power, obsessive behaviors, and paranoia.

Long-term use can cause heart disease, dangerous weight loss, severe dental issues, anxiety, violent behavior, and psychotic events similar to schizophrenia. These can include paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. Meth users may also experience depression and suicidal thoughts, or suffer from cognitive defects such as memory loss and reduced mental functions. Withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, depression, headaches, agitation, and sleep issues, can last for months for chronic users.

Methamphetamines can cause danger even to those who never use the drug. Production of meth, especially the "shake and bake" style meth labs found at the recent Panama City bust, is an extremely volatile process. Even a minor error, such as removing the cap on the bottle used to mix the chemicals too early or puncturing the container, can lead to a dangerous explosion. Meth lab explosions have caused numerous fires, destroying property and sending many innocent victims to the hospital with severe burns.

Car accidents are another way in which meth can harm non-users. Mobile meth labs can result in explosions on the road. Methamphetamines can also impair the ability of a user to drive. Reports suggest that meth use among truckers has been an issue since the 1970s, with drivers using the drug in an attempt to log longer hours behind the wheel. Both meth use and withdrawal, including simply coming down from a high, can lead to traffic accidents because the drug can hamper vision, impair decision-making, and result in diminished motor skills.

Drug use remains a serious problem for our society. The use and production of methamphetamine not only harms users, but it also harms innocent bystanders. If you or a loved one has been harmed due to someone else's drug use, our Panama City injury law firm can help you receive compensation for your injuries and/or economic loss.

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